NAHQ Speaker Examines Major Liability Risks in Physician Offices

October 3, 2012 | Risk Management News

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The number one liability exposure in primary care office practices is failure to diagnose cancer, especially breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer, said Anne Huben-Kearney, RN, B.S.N., M.P.A., CPHQ, CPHRM, vice president of clinical risk management, Coverys, during “Beyond Theory: Practical Applications for Reducing Risk in the Physician Office Practice,” presented Friday, September 21, 2012, at the National Association for Healthcare Quality’s annual conference in Tampa. Cancer screening, including a thorough patient and family history, is especially important. “It sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s not always done,” said Huben-Kearney. Always considering cancer as a differential diagnosis may help as well. Clinicians often consider the more mundane explanation first, but, Huben-Kearney advised, “think of the worst first.” The number two liability exposure in primary care is failure to diagnose cardiac disease. Strategies to address this exposure include closely monitoring patients with risk factors and documenting teaching about diet, lifestyle, and cholesterol-lowering medications. “That’s your heart attack three years from now,” said Huben-Kearney.

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